Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Discussion with Eminent Journalist Biswadeep Ghosh About His Biography on M.S. Dhoni, MSD: The Man, The Leader

Writer and editor, Biswadeep Ghosh, has been in the industry for the last 25 years. He gave up a career as a singer to become a journalist at the age of 18, and since then has been keenly writing on literature, movies and music. Along with an illustrious career in niche publications like The Times of India, Maharashtra Herald, Outlook, & Hindustan Times, Biswadeep has authored four biographies of Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan, and two children's book.
Biswadeep Ghosh
Biswadeep Ghosh

His latest biography MSD: The Man, The Leader has been the talk of the town these days for the obvious reason that it's the biography is the man of the moment, the Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The book has released right before the beginning of the World Cup 2015, and has been generating plenty of curiosity.

Infibeam had the pleasure of talking to Biswadeep, and getting to know what his latest biograpgy is all about. Here is what he had to say:

Que: Why did you choose MS Dhoni as the subject of your next book? What made you think that Dhoni's story could be worth a tell?

Mr. Biswadeep Ghosh: The inspirational quality in it. Here is a man whose father was once an unskilled worker in Ranchi. He was a decent student and a fine natural sportsperson who excelled in cricket. But he had to dump the thought of completing his graduation and become a Train Ticket Examiner at the Kharagpur Railway Station to support his family.

He hailed from Jharkhand and played most of his cricket for Bihar’s Ranji team during his days as a struggler in first class cricket. Bihar as we all know is a cricketing non-power. To rise from there and become the captain of the Indian cricket team is incredible. In fact, he is so unique that his story has been turned into a case study in some B-schools. Naturally, therefore, I was attracted to the subject.

MSD: The Man, The Leader Book
Que: Which aspects of Dhoni does your book MSD: The Man, The Leader cover?

Mr. Biswadeep Ghosh: Like I said, the story is inspirational, and the book makes that point in simple language which anybody with basic knowledge of English can understand, internalize and learn from.  It covers his background in Ranchi leading up to his growth as a cricketer in his hometown, journeys to Kharagpur where we get to see a young Dhoni and talks about his cricketing highs and lows with Team India thereafter. 

It has a chapter on his stature in his hometown today. He is a God in Ranchi who is not meant to be criticized, which contrasts with his life in the initial stages, has a separate section which analyses his leadership in a larger perspective by talking to established names both within and outside cricket, and concludes with a chapter on a view of his stardom and some thoughts about his future. The structure is slightly different from the run-of-the-mill biography.   

Que: Tell us about the research you did for the book? How long did it take, and how did you go about it?

Mr. Biswadeep Ghosh: It started with a trip to Ranchi. During the initial phase of the book, I was helped by a hardworking Ranchi-based lawyer-journalist Chandrajit Mukherjee who worked as a researcher and had been hired for that purpose by the publishers Rupa Publications. After that, it was all about extensive research and establishing contacts. Several well-known names from the journalistic fraternity helped me along the way. They are old friends, three of them close to me for two decades and more. It was very kind of them, and I have mentioned their names in the acknowledgments, which is the only, highly inadequate thing I can do in return.

Que: There are few controversies surrounding the Indian skipper. Have you covered them in the book?

Mr. Biswadeep Ghosh: This book doesn’t ask unanswered questions. It is about a man from nowhere who has reached where he has, spreading a message of hope for aspiring cricketers from modest backgrounds who play for or in states that are obscure in the context of cricket. Today, they can dream big. If they have the talent, they can believe that they can rise to the top and become a success story like Dhoni has. In fact, his is a story that can motivate anybody from any field. Of course, he or she needs to have genuine gifts and self-belief, neither of which can be acquired easily.

Que: As the Indian Cricket team's captain, where does Dhoni really stand?

Mr. Biswadeep Ghosh: See, the debate on good and better captains of India will be an eternal one. But, let there be no doubt that Dhoni and Ganguly are the most successful captains ever. If Ganguly had an excellent overseas record while Dhoni’s has been ruined in recent years because the newcomers have failed to replace the seniors who faded away one way or the other, he has the best home record in Tests, has won all the ICC trophies and taken the team to the number one position in Test rankings for the first time ever. There are many more, which will extend the debate even further.         

Que: Is the book a good read for those who are not familiar with cricket vocabulary?

Mr. Biswadeep Ghosh: Of course. Even those with a passing interest in cricket - by that I mean, elementary knowledge of the game - can enjoy it since it is jargon-free, and like I said earlier, written in very easy English. If the average reader didn’t understand what the book was all about, the purpose of writing it would have been defeated.